John Wood in his introduction to The New City stated: "...Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg. Along with Hart Crane they were the great epic rhapsodists of America and the American experience, and MacLean Gander is one with them within that same tradition." We were fortunate to publish two great epic poems: Hart Crane's The Bridge, with Sheila Metzner, and MacLean Gander's The New City, with Jefferson Hayman.
Coda: The New City
BY MACLEAN GANDER
This new city is so perfectly described it ends the past,
Not like a death but like the end of a story
That you remember always, in the fondest way, without regret.
This new city holds a lantern against the moon & illuminates it.
The walkways share a fragrance of undiscovered flowers,
Children carry balloons like talismans as they play their games,
Invented & forgotten each day, like rumors of forgiveness.
This new city is a firefly---one of the fireflies that return each summer
So that fireflies come back even though each one dies.
This new city is a place without you, a place where I knew you
But now you are gone. My hands hold a river. If you were water
I would drink you so deeply my thirst would be endless, to drink you.
In this new city we watch the sun rise & set, golden claims
On the sky, indifferent to anything but its endlessness & perfection.
BY HART CRANE
As John Wood wrote in his introduction: We look at the gothic arch, that high window of the American cathedral, at those steel, harp-string cable wires, and we see the spiritual side of the vision that Crane addressed in "To Brooklyn Bridge," the opening poem of his epic. Here the altar of heaven and the music of angels are conjoined:
O harp and altar, of the fury fused,
(How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!)
Terrific threshold of the prophet's pledge,
. . . we have seen night lifted in thine arms.
Under thy shadow by the piers I waited;
Only in darkness is thy shadow clear.
The City's fiery parcels all undone,
Already snow submerges an iron year . . .
O Sleepless as the river under thee,
Vaulting the sea, the prairies' dreaming sod,
Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend
And of the curveship lend a myth to God.